Sheridan's Black targets schooling fish to win two-day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Lake Hamilton - Major League Fishing
Sheridan’s Black targets schooling fish to win two-day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Lake Hamilton
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Sheridan’s Black targets schooling fish to win two-day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Lake Hamilton

Bee Branch’s Nixon earns Strike King Co-angler Division victory
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Boater Jamey Black of Sheridan, Arkansas, and Strike-King co-angler Leland Nixon of Bee Branch, Arkansas.
September 25, 2023 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Boater Jamey Black of Sheridan, Arkansas, caught 10 bass weighing 23 pounds even to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Arkie Division. Black earned $8,075 for his victory, including a $2,500 Phoenix contingency bonus.

“I found a couple of good areas that had schooling fish, and I just tried to stay in those areas following them around,” Black said, who has 18 Top-10 finishes in BFL competition. “I mainly fished mid-lake and down. They were following big bait balls around, so I just tried to follow them as best as I could with (Garmin) LiveScope and threw a topwater at them whenever they would come up schooling.”

Black said his schools were deep – anywhere from 20 to 50 feet – but they would surface wherever the bait was. He credited a big fish that he caught on a frog late in the day on Day 1 as being the key to his strong finish.

“I had a decent stringer on Sunday, but I never would have even had the opportunity if it weren’t for that frog fish on Saturday afternoon,” Black went on to say. “I’m just so very happy to win this one. It’s been since 2006 since I last earned one of these winner trophies, so this win, against this level of competition, feels really, really good.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

  • 1st:        Jamey Black, Sheridan, Ark., 10 bass, 23-0, $8,075 (includes $2,500 Phoenix Bonus)
  • 2nd:       Larry Selig, Alexander, Ark., 10 bass, 22-1, $2,787
  • 3rd:       Brian Bean, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 21-12, $1,860
  • 4th:        Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 21-9, $1,301
  • 5th:        Chris Darby, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 21-5, $1,115
  • 6th:        James Stricklin, Jr., Fort Smith, Ark., 10 bass, 21-0, $1,022
  • 7th:        Bryce Boatright, Sheridan, Ark., 10 bass, 19-5, $1,656
  • 8th:        Ben Blaschke, Roland, Okla., 10 bass, 19-0, $836
  • 9th:        Austin Johnston, Mena, Ark., 10 bass, 18-13, $743
  • 10th:     Jeremiah Kindy, Benton, Ark., 10 bass, 18-9, $650

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Bryce Boatright of Sheridan, Arkansas, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds even – the heaviest bass weighed in the boater division – and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $727.

Leland Nixon of Bee Branch, Arkansas, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,694 Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 20 pounds, 1 ounce.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

  • 1st:        Leland Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 10 bass, 20-1, $2,694
  • 2nd:       Brock Krohne, Belton, Mo., 10 bass, 17-15, $1,347
  • 3rd:       Michael Massey, Amity, Ark., nine bass, 16-11, $899
  • 4th:        Clayton Self, Benton, Ark., eight bass, 14-1, $1,178
  • 5th:        Jason Baggett, Mansfield, Ark., seven bass, 13-7, $539
  • 6th:        Aaron Calvert, Russellville, Ark., 10 bass, 13-7, $494
  • 7th:        Todd Garner, Spiro, Okla., nine bass, 13-4, $449
  • 8th:        John McCullar, Benton, Ark., six bass, 11-13, $404
  • 9th:        Derek Dixon, Hot Springs, Ark., seven bass, 11-0, $359
  • 10th:     Nathan Hall, Hensley, Ark., seven bass, 9-4, $314

Randy Allen of Russellville, Arkansas, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing 3 pounds, 3 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $345.

With the regular season now complete, boater Wayne Dixon of Morrilton, Arkansas, won the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Arkie Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,297 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Blake Defoor of Waldron, Arkansas, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Arkie Division AOY race with 1,303 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.

Now, the Top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will advance to compete in the Oct. 5-7 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Oklahoma. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will compete for a top award of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The 2023 Phoenix BFL Presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 events throughout the season, five qualifying tournaments in each division. The Top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five qualifying event winners, will advance to one of six BFL Regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American.

The Top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the MLF Toyota Series, the pathway to the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, General Tire, Grundéns, Gill, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Mystik Lubricants, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.